The short answer is “Yes” but it depends on other elements in the success equation. Let’s kick off with a couple definitions of success. Napoleon Hill defined it like this “SUCCESS is the attainment of your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM without violating the rights of other people.” Earl Nightingale laid it out like this “SUCCESS is the progressive realization of a WORTHY IDEAL.” And Bob Dylan says “SUCCESS IS WAKING UP EVERY MORNING… AND DOING WHAT I WANT TO DO.”
Many people often share that they don’t know how to go about choosing ONE goal. There are so many different thing they want to achieve they get tired just thinking about all that’s on their list. Others are working but not sure that what they’re doing is what they want to do.
What brings conflict and ultimately exhaustion is when we compare ourselves to others. Charles Caleb Colton said that “imitation is the greatest form of flattery” but it doesn’t help the person who’s doing the imitating. We have been taught to imitate. With good intention, parents asked us “Why can’t you be more like so and so?” Advertisements and the advent of hour long reality TV series beckon us to “Be like Mike”, “Bend it Like Beckham” and “Be like Kim Kardashian in 7 Easy Steps.”
When we compare we don’t just take the parts that we like about how a person operates, dresses or delivers a speech. We ask ourselves a terribly debilitating question “Why am I not LIKE you?” Then we set out to BE LIKE the other person, starting the rapid UNDOING of our whole life. What we don’t realize is that when we’re purely imitating and trying to “be like” we lose respect for who we are.
This is why you’re exhausted. You can get a new hairstyle, get new clothes, get the latest whatever cosmetics, buy a new car, visit Paris on vacation, learn a few more things, become more knowledgeable, start to paint as a form of meditation, become notoriously famous but deep down you will know that you are not being you. TD Jakes says “what does it matter what you have to show for your success if who you truly were meant to be remains hidden?”
Your disrespect of self comes when you don’t recognize your specialness. There is nothing to get – you already have it. The thing is that you need to recognize it. Nobody’s thumbprint is like yours, nor eyes; no one sounds like you, and absolutely nobody could duplicate your essence. You don’t have a double that exists EVEN if you are part of a twin. You are exceptional but you must accept this before you can truly embrace ANY success in your life.
In her book ‘Mastering Life’s Energies’, Dr. Maria Nemeth has a definition for success that I like very much. She says
Success is CONSISTENTLY doing what you said you would do with clarity, focus, ease and grace.” I like it because it gives us an opportunity to be successful every day.
These are my notes expanding each of the 4 aspects of Dr. Nemeth’s success definition:
Clarity: Clear about who I am, what’s important to me, and what is a game worth playing?
Focus: Zeroing in on conclusions that are empowering, spacious or ontological versus listening to my brain chattering telling me why it can’t work or that it CAN work but just not by me!
Ease: Ease of action, whether at the start of a project or in bringing it to completion. Ease happens when my actions in the moment are in harmony with my whole being and I’m not doing anything, as Hill describes, that violates the rights of others.
Grace: Being grateful for the journey – that I am being guided by inner principles and that I can be resilient and centred no matter what is going on in physical reality.
Does this mean that we can attain success smoothly without obstacles once we follow this path? Of course not! Dr. Nemeth says
The road to satisfying experiences must necessarily pass through the terrain of discomfort. Trouble paradoxically is a sign that you are on the right path.
So the next time you find yourself looking at someone else about to lunge into ‘the comparison hour’ ask yourself: “How do I do what’s before me with clarity, focus, ease and grace?” and watch as your frustration disappears and you bring your WHOLE self to taking those actions that best suit YOU!